Amelia Fais Harnas’s day job is translating medical documents from French to English. But by night she retreats to a tiny hillside shed in the backyard of her childhood home in Corning, New York, opens a bottle of wine, and paints with it. Part of her process is consuming while she works, of course, so results are sometimes unexpected—often pleasantly so.
An artist since childhood, Harnas has been experimenting with painting for years, spending much of her time on portraits; her studio is covered in them. Having always loved wine, she recently became curious about how it might work as a stand-in for watercolors. After tirelessly testing the wine painting process (which she prefers to keep partially secret), she has recently started to release them for sale. Depending on the type of wine she uses (she prefers Côtes du Rhone and Cahors), the results range from rosy pink to deep garnet to violet. Occasionally, Harnas will scatter gold dust on a painting to create the a gossamer halo effect around a subject’s face.
In a series Harnas produced exclusively for PUNCH, she imagined the most interesting people—from across the centuries—that she might invite to a dinner party. Over the course of two days, Harnas allowed PUNCH to film as she brought to detailed life the faces of Joan of Arc, 1930s actress Hedy Lamarr, musician and producer Jay Z, author and legendary drinker Ernest Hemingway and know-it-all scientist Bill Nye the Science Guy—on dinner napkins. (Harnas’s work can be found here.)